Daily Archives: January 8, 2009

Sarkozy, Merkel, Blair call for new capitalism

The head of Europe’s biggest economy said Thursday that world leaders should be looking at the massive U.S. deficit and other economic imbalances, not just problems caused by financial markets, as they debate a new global order.

Speaking at a conference in Paris on the future of capitalism, German Chancellor Angela Merkel singled out the American budget deficit and China’s current account surplus ”” the difference between exports and imports ”” as problems upsetting the global economy.

“We would be making an error if we were content to look solely at financial markets,” she said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, England / UK, Europe, France, Germany, Globalization, Politics in General

Press-Telegram: All Saints continues legal appeal

The lawyer representing a local church attempting to retain its property after breaking away from the national Episcopal Church says reports of the demise of the parish in Belmont Heights are premature.

On Monday, the California Supreme Court upheld an appeals court ruling that St. James Parish of Newport Beach, which broke away from the Episcopal Church in conjunction with All Saints of Belmont Heights and St. David’s Church of North Hollywood in 2004, did not have the right to retain the property when it disaffiliated.

While that ruling has been widely interpreted as a defeat for all three of the breakaway churches, Lynn Moyer says that’s not the case.

“Our case hasn’t been heard yet,” said Moyer, who represents All Saints and St. David’s. “This isn’t over by any means.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

George Conger in Religious Intelligence: Double-edged verdict in California court ruling

The California Supreme Court has issued a double-edged verdict in the Episcopal Church property cases, handing both the Diocese of Los Angeles and three breakaway parishes a defeat in their bids to control disputed church properties.

By a vote of 6 to 0 — with the seventh judge issuing a separate opinion that agreed with the ruling but rejected the legal arguments of the majority — the California Supreme Court rejected the Episcopal Church’s arguments that the state must defer to the church in adjudicating church property disputes. The judges held that California courts must use “neutral principles” of law to resolve church property dispute — giving no deference to claims made by the church hierarchy not found in the underlying title and corporate charters.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

RNS: California court ruling may impact Episcopal Church's property fights

“If I were in litigation in another state I would certainly point to this and say, ‘Hey, this is what another state’s Supreme Court said,'” said Robert W. Tuttle, a church-state expert at the George Washington University Law School.

Tuttle and others cautioned, however, that these kinds of property decisions tend to turn on facts specific to the case at hand.

The Rev. Peter Frank, spokesman for the Anglican Church in North America, the conservative rival province that was launched in December, said he doesn’t expect Monday’s rulings to staunch the conservative exodus.

“People that have made the choice to be mainstream Anglicans are unlikely to be sued back into a group they disagree with just because a panel of judges tells them they don’t actually own the candlesticks on the altar,” Frank said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Martyn Minns in World Magazine: Principle, not property

Leaders in the Los Angeles diocese quickly suggested that Monday’s ruling might have a “chilling” effect on other congregations considering leaving the national church. But [Martyn] Minns disagrees.

Minns is missionary bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a group of more than 70 congregations and 150 clergy in 21 states. Founded in 2005, CANA was established as a diocese-like home for breakaway U.S. Anglican churches. The group includes 11 Virginia churches that last month prevailed in the largest U.S. property dispute in Episcopal Church history.

“I think [the California decision] might have a negative impact on some congregations, but most are leaving over principle, not property,” said Minns, speaking by phone from Nigeria. “Many congregations have chosen not even to contest [ownership of church] property. We’re doing this because we believe in something,” namely the inerrancy of Scripture and its status as the final, objective authority in all matters, including sexual morality.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

Living Church: Milwaukee Bishop Plans Suit to Recover Parish Assets

The Diocese of Milwaukee will sue the congregation of St. Edmund’s Church, Elm Grove, in order to ensure that the church property remains available for worship by Episcopalians, said the Rt. Rev. Steven Miller, Bishop of Milwaukee.

In a letter dated Jan. 4, Bishop Miller wrote that he had been “discourteously rebuffed” when he sought to meet with the parish leadership on several occasions during the past month and that he saddened by the decision made by some members of St. Edmund’s to “disaffiliate from a diocese where their theological convictions are respected.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts

From the You Can't Make This Stuff up Department

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. ”” When his wife needed a kidney transplant, Dr. Richard Batista gave her one of his, Now that Dawnell Batista has filed for a divorce, Richard Batista wants his kidney back as part of his settlement demand The case is being heard in Supreme Court in Mineola, N.Y.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family

Speech exceprts from President Elect Obama's Major Address on the Economy later today

I don’t believe it’s too late to change course, but it will be if we don’t take dramatic action as soon as possible. If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years. The unemployment rate could reach double digits. Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than $12,000 in lost income for a family of four. We could lose a generation of potential and promise, as more young Americans are forced to forgo dreams of college or the chance to train for the jobs of the future. And our nation could lose the competitive edge that has served as a foundation for our strength and standing in the world.

In short, a bad situation could become dramatically worse.

Check it out.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, US Presidential Election 2008

Ephraim Radner–The ACNA Constitution: In Line with the Covenant?

What the Constitution does provide, not yet articulated in the draft Covenant, is a final mechanism ”“ along with a provincial tribunal to deal with disputes over the interpretation and application of the Constitution and future provincial canons ”“ by which to establish a decision regarding membership “removal”. It does not, of course, say anything about the circumstances under which such a final vote for removal would be taken, or about the procedures leading up to such a vote, precisely the knotted issue being debated with respect to the Covenant. Presumably the yet-to-be-formulated canons of the Province would speak to this issue, but as yet there is no indication of how to sort out this challenge. For the moment, then, the proposed province is leaving this procedure undefined, although its purpose, once defined, can go no further than the Covenant’s current proposal for the Communion as a whole, as I have just indicated. Indeed, one wonders if there is a good deal of faith being placed on the stability of incoming commitments held by the proposed Province’s new members. But there is a parallel to this with the Covenant’s purpose to lay out its own commitments up front with sufficient (though realistic) concreteness as to sift the actual willingness of churches to embrace its common life.

In summary, the shape of the proposed province’s Constitution demonstrates some fundamental convergences, deliberate or not, with the direction being taken by the draft Communion Covenant. This fact is important. For given the explicit support offered to the proposed province by leaders who chose not to attend the Lambeth Conference, we might conclude that the Covenant’s direction is indeed coherent with their own desires. The Constitution, that has been formulated freely and with every permission to state a desired set of commitments without impediment, has turned out in key respects to be very close to the Covenant’s own current thrust for Communion relationships. Where it demonstrates confusions, as it does, they are generally ones inherent in the process of seeking common accountabilities across lines where individual churches still clearly wish to guard their own autonomy. The Covenant Design Group will want to take this seriously into account as we proceed further and continue to learn from the responses of the Communion at large. As part of this work, the proposed Constitution represents a very significant response of its own.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Anglican Covenant, Common Cause Partnership

Detroit Elementary School Lacks Toilet Paper, Light Bulbs

A Detroit elementary school is asking for donations of toilet paper and light bulbs to keep their school functioning.

The principal of the Academy of Americas sent a letter to staff, parents and partners asking for donations of items “that are of the utmost importance for proper school functioning and most importantly for student health and safety.”

In the letter, Principal Naomi Khalil cited budget constraints within the district as the reason why the school could no longer stock the items.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education

U.S. debt is losing its appeal in China

China has bought more than $1 trillion in American debt, but as the global downturn has intensified, Beijing is starting to keep more of its money at home – a shift that could pose some challenges to the U.S. government in the near future but eventually may even produce salutary effects on the world economy.

At first glance, the declining Chinese appetite for U.S. debt – apparent in a series of hints from Chinese policy makers over the past two weeks, with official statistics due for release in the next few days – comes at an inopportune time. On Tuesday, the U.S. president-elect, Barack Obama, said Americans should get used to the prospect of “trillion-dollar deficits for years to come” as he seeks to finance an $800 billion economic stimulus package.

Normally, China would be the most avid taker of the debt required to pay for those deficits, mainly short-term Treasury securities. In the past five years, China has spent as much as one-seventh of its entire economic output on the purchase of foreign debt – largely U.S. Treasury bonds and American mortgage-backed securities.

But now, Beijing is seeking to pay for its own $600 billion economic stimulus….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Credit Markets, Economy, Globalization

Thomas L. Friedman: The Mideast's Ground Zero

Can The Jews Have a Room Here? Hamas rejects any recognition of Israel. By contrast, the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank, has recognized Israel – and vice versa. If you believe, as I do, that the only stable solution is a two-state one, with the Palestinians getting all of the West Bank, Gaza and Arab sectors of East Jerusalem, then you have to hope for the weakening of Hamas.

Why? Because nothing has damaged Palestinians more than the Hamas death-cult strategy of turning Palestinian youths into suicide bombers. Because nothing would set back a peace deal more than if Hamas’ call to replace Israel with an Islamic state became the Palestinian negotiating position. And because Hamas’ attacks on towns in southern Israel is destroying a two-state solution, even more than Israel’s disastrous and reckless West Bank settlements.

Israel has proved that it can and will uproot settlements, as it did in Gaza. Hamas’ rocket attacks pose an irreversible threat. They say to Israel: “From Gaza, we can hit southern Israel. If we get the West Bank, we can rocket, and thereby close, Israel’s international airport – anytime, any day, from now to eternity.” How many Israelis will risk relinquishing the West Bank, given this new threat?

Read the whole piece.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Israel, Middle East, Violence

Rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel's North

Israel’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza threatened to broaden on Thursday as at least three rockets were fired into the north of Israel from Lebanon.

The rockets, presumably launched in support of Hamas, could presage the opening of a second front. The Israeli Army, in a brief statement, said it “responded with fire against the source of the rockets,” which landed near the town of Nahariya. Two Israelis were slightly wounded, the police said.

So far there has been no claim of responsibility. A spokeswoman for the militant group Hezbollah, which triggered a war with Israel in 2006 by firing rockets into northern Israel from Lebanon, said an investigation was underway. “We are still looking for information about it,” she said.

Prime Minister Fuad Siniora immediately condemned the attack.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Israel, Middle East, Violence

Obama Warns of Dire Consequences Without large Stimulus Package

President-elect Barack Obama will say today that the nation’s recession could “linger for years” unless Congress acts to pump unprecedented sums from Washington into the U.S. economy, making his highest-profile case yet on an issue certain to define his early presidency.

“I don’t believe it’s too late to change course, but it will be if we don’t take dramatic action as soon as possible,” Obama said in a speech set to be delivered at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., outside Washington. Excerpts from his prepared text were released in advance by his transition team.

“A bad situation could become dramatically worse,” he added, painting a dire picture ”” including double-digit unemployment and $1 trillion in lost economic activity ”” that recalled the days of the Great Depression in the 1930s.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, US Presidential Election 2008

New prayers for those affected by redundancy published on CofE website

The Church of England has published two new prayers to comfort people made redundant, and those remaining in the workplace following a round of redundancies, at the beginning of a year in which the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has predicted that at least 600,000 people could lose their jobs.

The ”˜Prayer on being made redundant’ helps to put into words the anxieties of those who are losing – or who have already lost – their job in the wave of recent redundancies. It includes the verse: “Hear me as I cry out in confusion, help me to think clearly, and calm my soul.”

The ”˜Prayer for those remaining in the workplace’ focuses on the guilt and increased workload associated with redundancy. It asks of God: “In the midst of this uncertainty, help me to keep going: to work to the best of my ability, taking each day at a time.”

Read it all and let us know what you make of the prayers.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer